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Students’ Virtual Tour of National Museum Memories after Devastating Fire

Andrew Beelitz

A devastating fire destroyed the National Museum of Brazil in 2019. Leonardo Coelho, a journalist and a student at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, had started working on a project that developed new ways for people to remember and share memories of the museum they loved. To us, Leonardo’s initiative struck as a truly wonderful example of how 360 media and immersive publishing can support cultural preservation.

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Project goal: An immersive space to retain memories of the museum

The idea for the project had started at a workshop with Sandra Gaudenzi and André Paz.

“In this project our main goal was to provide an immersive space to retain memories of the actual space, the National Museum.  We wanted people to be able to see their memoirs – be it images, sound, video etc – linked to the exact spot they remember the best at the national museum — and why they remember a certain specific place and not the other? What did the space mean and symbolize for the people had visited the museum?“.

Leonardo Coelho

Explore the project below: (Please note we have significantly updated the ThingLink experience since this blog was originally published. Explore the new ThingLink suite here.)

Collaboration with UNIRIO: A call for personal memories and photos

As a next step, Leonardo and his friends Cristophe Nonato and Will Nogueira got in touch with museology graduates Luana Santos and Nicolas Januário as well as their teacher Ludmila Costa from the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO). They made a public call for photos of the national museum and received thousands of pictures.

Production of stories using ThingLink

After meeting with UNIRIO, Leonardo and his friends created a working group to produce and launch example stories using the 360 images that carried people’s memories in an interactive way. The group also included Flora Rodrigues, Gabriel Arouca and Lais Fonseca from production engineering department at UNIRIO. At this point Leonardo posted a note to the ThingLink Education group on Facebook.


“Our group liked ThingLink’s interface – which is relatively easy to use – and I personally liked the fact that we were able to skip coding and massive editing, and instead focus on the actual memories of people. Another thing that we found important during the development was that  the experience should be as light and mobile as possible, so that the audience could look at them on the fly. For viewers, it definitely provides a balanced user experience, even if it’s very simple. However, sometimes simple is the best option.”

Leonardo Coelho

Further Reading

Read these examples of how educators and exhibitions organizers at galleries, museums and cultural institutions are using ThingLink to create immersive virtual tours of their spaces which improve access to their cultural heritage artefacts.

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